THE INTEROSSEOUS MEMBRANE OF THE FOREARM: STRUCTURE AND ITS ROLE IN GALEAZZI FRACTURES

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Abstract

A cadaveric study was performed to anatomically describe and mechanically document the interosseous membrane of the forearm using gross, histologic, scanning electron microscopic, and mechanical testing. The membrane was found to be a complex structure composed of nerves and vessels but meinly of collagen fibers that thicken to form bands coursing from radius to ulna. Strain-gauge studies demonstrated that the load transfer occurs from the radius to the ulna via the membrane and changes with supination or pronation. With specimens under a specific test load, sectioning of the membrane allowed the fractured radius to shorten by 6.25 mm and sectioning of the triangular fibrocartilage complex resulted in shortening of 7.7 mm. Total shortening after osteotomy and sectioning of the complex structure and membrane ranged from 15 to 40 mm. In Galeazzi fractures, the interosseous membrane acts as a constraint to radial shortening. Anatomic reduction with internal fixation is indicated for this fracture-dislocation.

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